The thrill is gone?

I write every day. No kidding. The last thing I do before I go to bed every night is something writing-related. This is in part because I’m best focused at night, and in part because it’s just habit. I have done this for years, though; years. I’ve missed the odd day here and there because of logistics or location or whatever, but usually, on those days, I’ve at least spent some time thinking about a current project. And I always, always have a current project.

I haven’t written anything since I’ve been back in Oregon from break. That is very, very strange for me. It’s not a lack of things to work on or ideas to flesh out — I have a story that’s paused at about the 2/3 mark, and I know precisely where it’s going and I’m excited about it — it is, I think, a lack of will and discipline.

Part of the good of grad school so far has been a strangely guilt-imposed kind of discipline. I feel like, OK, I’m here, I’m doing this, my job right now is to be a writer and to think about writing and all of that, so I’m going to freaking get the most out of it that I can. Last term, that translated to a pretty good amount of productivity, but I also broke my last-thing-at-night habit. I brought writing out of the “hobby” category and into the “homework” category, and thus I started writing in daylight, at coffeeshops and libraries. I think, yeah, this hurts to say, but it changed from being fun, a reward at the end of the day, to something I need to do, have to do and think about. I’m avoiding writing (which can be evidenced by multiple posts here and at the other blog recently; I am suddenly much more talkative when I’m not writing).

There’s a clear solution to this, which is that I need to suck it up and get back on the horse. I was remarkably productive over break — I wrote every day in Kansas, for almost two hours a day (and sometimes more). I could and should just follow the recipe that worked for me there: get out of the house with the computer, camp out at a coffee place, and go. But I’m already making excuses in my mind: it’s so cold outside; I have other homework that’s much more pressing; I shouldn’t spend the money that’s required for coffee-on-the-town; I don’t feeeeeeel like it; etc.

BLAH. There’s a fantastic Joyce Carol Oates quote out in the world somewhere about how being a writer means you write when you’re sick and you write when you’re tired and you write when you don’t want to write, and I need to find that quote and tattoo it to my hand.

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